Wristwatches are an essential part of many people’s daily outfits. My wristwatch is made by the Swiss company Swatch. In the 1970s, most consumer watches were made in Switzerland, and Swiss watch makers had an effective monopoly over the industry. Most Swiss watchmakers made traditional, mechanical watches, which were typically assembled carefully by hand. These watches were often expensive and seen as luxury items to be well taken care of and handed down for generations.
However, when quartz watches were invented, they largely replaced mechanical watches. This was called the Quartz Revolution. Quartz watches were cheaper and more easily mass-produced, having much less components than a traditional watch. The majority of quartz watches were made in Asia, and these watches slowly took over the Swiss watchmaking industry, as more and more people could afford them. Swiss watchmakers were reluctant to go quartz, as excellence in mechanical watchmaking was a big part of Swiss national identity at the time. Almost immediately, Swiss watch exports dropped in value by fifty percent, and Switzerland’s share of the market dropped from fifty percent to fifteen percent.
Swatch, whose name is a contraction formed from the words “second watch,” was born to revitalize the Swiss watchmaking industry and give it a second chance of sorts. Nicolas G. Hayek, the founder of Swatch, thought he could compete with the cheap Asian imports by creating a quartz watch encased in plastic, which he could easily mass produce, challenging the notion that Swiss watches had to be luxurious and everlasting. Swatch grew to become the largest watch company in the world.
The first Swatch was relatively simple, but the Swatch evolved to be a means through which people could express their personalities in colorful, playful ways. Swatch constantly comes out with new collections, featuring an artist or a theme. The aim of this is to encourage people to by multiple Swatches, to match different outfits or express different moods. My Swatch is called Golden Friend and is simple with a black strap and gold face.